'Transformers' Inspires Chinese Farmer-Artists

Some Chinese farmers have left their plows and taken to welding giant robot replicas in public spaces. The craze follows release of the new Transformers movie, China's biggest-ever box office hit.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ARUN RATH, HOST:

And while we are celebrating zombies who shuffle from movies into comic book, what about the toy robots that became a cartoon that then became a movie series and now have inspired Chinese farmers to become master replica robot builders?

(SOUNDBITE OF "TRANSFORMERS" THEME SONG)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: Transformers, more than meets the eye.

RATH: For those of you who don't know, Transformers are robots. There are good ones, the Autobots, and bad ones, the Decepticons. The robots can transform into cars and planes and look completely awesome as they battle for control of the earth. That's basically the plot of every Transformers movie. While the latest in the franchise, "Transformers: Age Of Extinction," has pulled in $280 million in China in just two weeks, making it the highest grossing film there, ever. So naturally, Chinese farm workers are now building giant models of the robots from spare car parts and selling them to wealthy property developers, who are putting them in malls and housing complexes. If you've got 16 grand to spare, you can have your very own replica of Optimist Prime or Bumblebee. So far, there have been no reports of Chinese attempts to replicate the human star of the film, Mark Wahlberg, but we'll keep you posted.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.